Can I Just Sit with Her?

“Jules, I’m beginning to feel like Miss Kitty in Gunsmoke! I can handle the cleanup here at the Inn but I’m worried to death about the girls.”

“Me too, dear. I want to see them with my own eyes, not just a scratchy report … ‘found, being treated, and under observation.’ Can’t reach Linda and JJ’s off again.”

“Oh, Jules,” I sighed. “This is frightening. Never expected disasters or someone’s guts all over the place.”

“Now Hanna, take a deep breath. It’ll be okay.” He gave me a quick firm hug, and with that lovable glint in his eye said, “ ‘Scuse me…. Time to get out o’ Dodge.”

With a knot bigger than his stomach, Jules ran to the Lab. “Hi, Mariana. Looking for my girls… Karyn’s with the other kids, but I need to know about Liza and Emily. I know you’ll tell me straight.”

With a careful quick glance, she said, “We’ll keep Em for a bit. She’ll do fine; she’s young and healthy. And by the way, congratulations, Mr. Parker. You’ll be a great-grandpa … to twins! ”

“That’s a good surprise….for a change! Now tell me what you’re not telling me about Liz.”

Mariana paused. Even Linda and JJ didn’t know yet. “Sir, she will need some extra help. PTSS – post-traumatic stress syndrome. Kind of shell-shock from the storm and tsunami. But when she heard about Emily’s attack and injuries, it was too much for her. The best we could do was try to keep an eye on her. Right now, you’d be the best medicine of all for her.”

Jules went into the quiet room where Liza was curled up underneath a blanket in a lounge chair. “Lizzie, it’s Grandpa.” Vacant eyes didn’t see him. They bespoke of her presence on some other plane. Sitting down gently on a chair beside her, he waited several minutes, then placed his hand tenderly beside hers. In a hushed voice he spoke a few more words. Then stopped. And repeated the pattern. Gradually she became aware of his presence. Turned her head with such raw pain in her eyes that his heart broke into thousands of pieces. Her eyes beseeched him with the unasked question, “Em?” Summoning up more courage than he imagined he had, he said merely, “Okay.” More pause. “Em will be okay.”

Silence enveloped them both. Her fingers inched towards Jules’ strong hand, hesitantly touched it. He slowly grasped her hand, and held it with compassion. Liza took a long deep sigh, she shuddered, the tears began to flow, and her body shook uncontrollably as she sobbed. He gently rocked her. Then she uttered, “Can I just sit with her? Til she wakes up.”

Ah Liza, what a lonesome road it’s been for you.

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
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